One of my favourite things to do is getting out and about in search of oddities, maybe looking around locations that are supposed to be haunted or perhaps searching for out of place animals and perhaps visiting ancient sites that are full of legends, myths and monsters. I’m very lucky to live in an area that is full of such things and much more besides. I’m also very lucky to have a good friend who also enjoys these forays into forteana.
It was last Wednesday that my pal Ed sent me a message to let me know that he [unexpectedly] had the next two days off work and ‘would I like to try a bit of ley dowsing’. As I myself also had no work on I jumped at the chance and arrangements were made.
So Friday morning came and I made the journey from my house near Bristol down to Glastonbury in the heart of Somerset. Upon arriving at my friends house and receiving a warm greeting we decided it would be wise to fill up on some good food, one can’t simply undertake fortean research on an empty stomach you know! A stroll around Glastonbury in search of a meal of fortean proportions would also give me the opportunity to buy my own set of dowsing rods. We headed off into the town and sauntered down the high street perusing the various shops that sell all sorts of tools and trinkets for the new age type or magic practitioner. Eventually I found myself a set of lovely dowsing rods made by Glastonbury’s local blacksmith no less. With that errand out of the way we could now get on with the important business of finding some food.
With Ed and I both being members of an ancient and secretive vegan cult the job of finding some good food to eat can sometimes be a little tricky. Of course this is Glastonbury and we were well catered for. After tucking into a huge bowl of chilli and rice we felt suitably fuelled to head out on our days adventure.
Our first stop was St. Leonards Church in the beautiful little village of Butleigh. The village according to historians has been inhabited in one form or another for around 2000 years. The church itself dates back to the 14th century but it may have been an important spiritual site for many hundreds of years (or more) before the church was built or even before Christianity came to these shores and buggered things up. The evidence for this theory is seen in the stump of what was once an ancient yew tree, which has now been cut down and carved into benches. It is thought that this yew may have been several thousands of years old and we know they were highly venerated in pre-christian times. Often, here in the UK you will find churches that have been built on sites that contain these ancient yews. These sites would of held spiritual importance to pagan peoples. As a way of showing the power of the new religion the churches took over these ancient places of worship, veneration and lost magic.
But it was a layline that we were particularly interested in finding, so out came our dowsing rods and it wasn’t long before they found where a line entered and exited the church, this particular lay was known as the Glastonbury line. Now the finding the ley itself wasn’t much of a revelation, as mentioned it is well known and well mapped. But, what we discovered next really did surprise us. We had been searching for the points of the line that were said to enter and exit the church, it was at the rear of the church that we looked up and saw what can only be described as a carving of a green man, a most pagan of symbols, on the exact line that our rods had plotted the route of the lay. On returning to the front where dowsed the lay going in was the same pagan carving. Could this be a coincidence? Well we made a careful examination of the rest of the carvings and gargoyles that adorned the outside of church and these were the only two. So, make of that what you will dear reader.
Looking at the OS map that Ed had the fore site to bring along we decided that we may like to try and discover our own previously unknown point of the Glastonbury Ley and it didn’t take to much studying to find another church near by that might just fit the bill. Getting back in to my car we headed towards the near by village of Kingweston and to the church of All Saints, this church was originally built in the middle ages but largely remodelled in the 19th century. Once the rods were out again we were very pleased to discover that what appeared to be a ley did indeed enter the church and exit in the direction of the previous location. What these lays are is a matter of much debate, some say they don’t exist are are only the product of ones wishful imagination, other people suggest they are lines of earth energy that our ancestors knew how to use in some way, exactly what is a matter of speculation. I think i agree with them being lines or even grids of earth energies and the ancestors knew how to use and placed their places of worship like stone circles ect along these lines and then the dear old Christians placed their place of worship right on top of them probably not even realising the real importance.
Now with the cold wind biting into us we made a tough decision to head back towards Glastonbury and find a nice warm pub to enjoy a couple of pints. Well dear reader a couple of pints soon turned into a few and then a few more and we were soon heading back to Eds place on foot through the somerset night. But even in our slightly inebriated state the spirit of forteana still shone through and we found ourselves amongst the ruins of Glastonbury Abby where on a previous visit Ed had been doing some stealth dowsing for any spirits that may have been around. Well he was in luck, he managed to pick up on a something that not only showed itself via his rods but also made itself known via a loud moan that seemed to emanate from behind him and his wife, who was also with him. Upon turning around there was absolutely no one around. So naturally we made our way to the spot where the moan was heard, which happily was by a large old pond. We sat on a near by bench and for a while just watched the moon reflected in the cold dark waters of the pond, occasionally calling out for any spirits or entities that might be present to make themselves known to us. But sadly nothing came forward.